Automating Windows 7 deployment

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1 Automating Windows 7 deployment Following best practices is essential to rapid, effective OS rollouts Whitepaper Head Office Frankfurt a.m. (DE) London Office (UK) Sacramento Office (US) Helfmann-Park Eschborn phone: th Floor, 101 Moorgate London EC2M 6SL phone: Herdal Drive, Suite 14 Auburn, CA phone:

2 Contents 1 Introduction Best practices to deploy Windows Multicast deployment The Universal Image Automated Deployment with OpsQuick Reproducibility Enhancing WDS Conclusion Imprint... 5 visionapp.com I

3 1 Introduction Deploying Windows operating systems has historically been a very time-consuming process. This process is primarily driven by direct interaction with the end-user client machine. Many network administrators associate Windows upgrades with the mind-numbing process of inserting the media in the drive and filling in the blanks for the dozens or hundreds of PCs within the organization. This paper discusses ways to more efficiently deploy Windows operating systems to multiple machines. One of the ways to streamline the process is by using software like OpsQuick from visionapp, which can remotely deploy images over a network to multiple targets simultaneously. 2 Best practices to deploy Windows 7 Windows 7 comes with much additional functionality, such as DirectAccess, BranchCache, and enhanced file security, which many experts and consumers believe is good reason to migrate. Once an organization decides to migrate its machines to Windows 7, the IT department must determine how to take on the sizeable task of updating and migration. How do you manage the transition process in the most efficient way possible? The OS switch needs to be done in a way that minimizes end user downtime without creating additional calls to the help desk. Although Windows 7 can be a productivity boon for businesses, mismanaging the migration can create its own set of business problems. The following best practices can assist in migration activities, lowering the resources required for a company-wide migration, and helping the end user get up and running quickly. 2.1 Multicast deployment One of the ways that end user downtime can be minimized is with multicast deployment. This concept means that there is an unlimited number of machines that can be simultaneously imaged. Enabling multicast deployment from a Windows Server 2008 machine will change network utilization from 1-to-1 (one image to one machine) to 1 to many (one image to many machines). The number of machines that can be contained in the many is only limited by your network environment. Depending on the technology you use, you can deploy all the nodes on a network at the same time and have every client migrated in as little as 30 minutes. Each machine will be exactly the same and come from the same image. Because each machine is built from the same known good image, administrators have clients that are consistent everywhere. Local administrator passwords are the same and all visionapp.com 1

4 applications are installed in the same directories. This is applicable even when the hardware is not the same. 2.2 The Universal Image Additionally, the concept of a Universal Image, if implemented properly, can reduce administrative problems when migrating to Windows 7. Administrators worldwide often have the same problems. Small businesses and large enterprises alike face challenges when maintaining hardware throughout the organizations. As technologies advance, so must the user s machine (whether it s a desktop or notebook) and servers. On top to that, price is always a factor when buying hardware. Many organizations face challenges even when dealing with the same hardware manufacturer. With the concept of a Universal Image, integrating new MSCs and NIC drivers enable the same image to be used on all platforms, from virtual to Citrix Shared Images to laptops and desktops. 1 Only one image needs to be maintained and updated for each OS, thereby making it a Universal Image. 3 Automated Deployment with OpsQuick Automated deployment is the process of fully installing an image without doing anything beyond initiating the process. This process reduces the time and effort it takes for IT staff to migrate to a new operating system (or, for instance, rolling out a desktop refresh or adding new machines to a workgroup). In an ideal situation, you could add a client machine (also called the target machine) quickly by importing the machine profiles from Active Directory. In some situations, it might be more convenient to import the profiles from a.csv file, or even enter it manually. Next, you could simply assign the deployment site and select the Universal Image to be deployed to the machines. With one click, the process would be initiated. visionapp has an OS deployment product, called OpsQuick, that works in just this way. While image application times vary with the image size and the hardware used, testing has shown that the process can take as little as eight minutes. Speed is not the only advantage to automating the deployment process. Automated deployment allows you to maintain a homogeneous environment which is often critical to maintain service level agreements. 3.1 Reproducibility With OpsQuick, the automation process is reproducible. Once the target has been defined and all the parameters are entered to personalize the target, things like computer name, network 1 It is important to note that this procedure can be used with any deployment product that utilizes a.wim. visionapp.com 2

5 configuration and domain join information are saved in a separate database for future use and never have to be re-entered. Each time the server is rebuilt, it will be built the same exact way. Additionally, OpsQuick outputs a report for each target device. These reports can be saved or submitted to auditors in order to document any changes to the environment. Automated deployment is useful in scenarios where time and consistency are important. Having a tool that can rebuild a machine to a known good working state is invaluable in any environment. Any time that the IT group spends troubleshooting OS deployment is usually wasted time. A software tool such as OpsQuick builds and rebuilds quickly and efficiently as OpsQuick. Rebuilding a machine becomes a quick solution to a host of instances where a server or workstation is failing and the cause is unknown. 3.2 Enhancing WDS Microsoft s Windows Deployment Services (WDS) is the updated and redesigned version of Remote Installation Services (RIS). WDS assists with the rapid adoption and deployment of Microsoft Windows operating systems. It can be used to set up new computers through a network-based installation without an admin having to be physically present at each computer and without having to install directly from CD or DVD media. WDS is a very powerful tool to deploy Windows. When you add OpsQuick to WDS, you gain ease of use, a faster learning curve, and powerful extra features. The biggest difference is the learning curve. With OpsQuick, an admin can be deploying systems in a couple of hours. With WDS, many IT admins discuss in forums and blogs that it takes them about two weeks to get up to speed, even if they know RIS. OpsQuick also enhances the ease of use for deploying Windows. OpsQuick has the ability to manage an unlimited amount of servers and workstations inside the GUI that the admin organizes to fit their infrastructure. Images, servers, workstations, and sysprep settings can be organized inside of folders and sorted by OS, Department, Hardware type, or customized sorting criteria. While WDS is powerful, OpsQuick adds some extra features. For example, WDS does not give the admin the option to assign different images to different machines and deploy them simultaneously. For an unattended install in WDS, only one image can be selected for distribution. That means that ANY machine that boots to the network that day will get the same image. OpsQuick allows for the assignment of a different image to each machine if necessary. Start the deployment process, reboot the machine and the correct image is delivered. If you don t want to network boot in OpsQuick, don t start a deployment and the server object will boot to the next device. In WDS, that server will get whatever image is enabled that day on the WDS server. OpsQuick can also deploy an OS image with a bootable DVD. This is applicable when setting a machine to PXE boot is not possible. WDS does not provide this option. OpsQuick adds the ability to naming of machines based on current naming conventions and determined by the company. WDS requires that each machine be named based on static and specialized, very limited wildcard values set in the WDS Console. visionapp.com 3

6 OpsQuick adds the ability to have OS customizations link to server objects, workstation objects, and OS images. One scenario: WDS could deploy a Windows 2008 Presentation Server to a workstation that the user has just rebooted because it froze. In this scenario, WDS would have wiped the workstation hard drive clean. This cannot happen with OpsQuick. 4 Conclusion In order to migrate your organization s servers and workstations to Windows 7, automated deployment tools are clearly the best way to save time and effort as well as make the resulting machines stable and ready to be used immediately by your employees. Automated software tools, such as OpsQuick, that create a reproducible Universal Image are part of the best practices for OS migration. While other tools are available, software tools that enhance the automation experience are often an excellent investment, allowing you and your staff to save hours of work and giving you the confidence of a quality OS image on every machine. visionapp.com 4

7 5 Imprint Disclosure and Warranty The information, concepts, and ideas contained in this document are the property of visionapp AG. No part of this document may be disclosed or reproduced in any form without written permission of visionapp AG. Any violation thereof will be pursued. All brand names and product names used in this document are trademarks of their respective holders and are recognized as such. Any product descriptions or representations in this document are for identification purposes only and are not to be construed as a warranty of specific properties or guarantee or warranty of any other type. visionapp shall assume no liability, either explicit or implied, for the documentation. All rights reserved visionapp AG, Oktober 2009 About visionapp visionapp specializes in the design, implementation and operation of server-based infrastructure and portal solutions based on Microsoft and Citrix technologies. The company provides unique products and services for optimization and cost-effective administration of Windows Terminal Server infrastructures. visionapp Application Delivery Management Suite including visionapp Server Management and visionapp Workspace Management as well as consulting and ASP services form the core business. The visionapp products and solutions are provided through a worldwide certified partner network. For More Information visionapp North America Herdal Drive Suite 14 Auburn CA web: visionapp.com 5

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